tv Newsmakers CSPAN September 23, 2012 10:00am-10:30am EDT
attack was indeed a terrorist attack. she said it appear opportunistic. what more do we know about it being opportunistic and not premeditated? are we seeing evidence that it was planned? who might be that kind it? behind it? >> i was curious by those who are hesitant to call it a terrorist attack. it had all the attributes of any accepted definition of terrorism. it was the use of violence to carry out a political mission. clearly that is what happened. i do not think we know enough
now to know whether it was opportunistic. whether it was planned to occur on september 11 or whether it was a plan they had on the shelf and when they saw what was happening in response to the anti-muslim film, they seized the moment in carried it out. it clearly was not just spontaneous. they knew what they were doing. the effects are not all clear. at the briefing we had on thursday but secretary clinton, it is clear our investigation is still ongoing. we have talked to people for fuel wase th, diesel thrown around the compound. they waited.
when everyone thought the attack was over four hours, the fired quite exactly what the real skill and experience murder rounds at the second building that people had retreated to. that is when the two seals were killed. this was a terrorist attack. i believe that was premeditated. whether it was planned for this day is inconsequential. we know this part of eastern libya is a center for a lot of violent islamist extremist groups. that was clearly known by intelligence. they do not think you suddenly do something as organized and
this was with the equipment's and the weapons systems they had. and with the skillful operators. we have a testimony from people who were in that second building that the murders hit with a remarkable exactness. this was ready to go. >> there were news reports that ambassador stephen said he thought he was a target of al qaeda. is there a connection between him thinking al qaeda was targeting him. what happened at? >> probably. we do not know. chris stevens was a believer in the people of libya. that is why they're mourning his death. it is quite logical that he would be a target of al qaeda or groups associated with al qaeda. whether they knew he was at the compound on september 11, we do not know yet. some people have dismissed that
and said it was accidental. i do not yet. the best information i have had is that ambassador stevens was in benghazi to open a cultural center. that would have been known more broadly. it is an open question as to whether the terrorist knew that he was there. they're out to get the ambassador. >> what you think about the security at the consulate in lydia? what kind of failures are you aware of or are you concerned of? >> the security was obviously an adequate. hindsight is always clearer. we have to say that as a qualifier. it is pretty clear now that there was a lot of
intelligence coming out of the benghazi area. eastern libya was loaded with violent extremist groups. there have been terrorist attacks. there have been improvised explosive device in june. there have been attacks on british diplomats there. looking back, you have to say coming up to september 11 that the security there was an adequate. that is why senator susan collins on the homeland security committee and i have requested the inspector general at the department of state to an independent investigation of this whole tragedy at the consulate. the inspector general responded to senator collins and me just recently. secretary clinton had appointed
a review board to investigate what had happened at the consulate. he was going to wait. senator collins and i feel he should not wait. we feel what happened at benghazi was tragic enough and had implications for security at american missions around the world. there ought to be investigations. one ought to be totally independent. i hope they will go forward. if i may use an unfortunate parallel, i thank god nobody died. in the secret service, that they have done their own internal investigation. the department of plant security general at our request is completing an independent investigation. it is certainly justified in
benghazi where four americans were killed. >> there has been reporting about a former who was released to libya under the bush administration and then set free inside libya. do you have any concerns about -- what do you know about the former guantanamo detainee being involved? >> there are some he was releaso they are prisoners of war. we call them enemy combatants, but the war goes on. the number that have gone back to fight is shocking.
he founded a chapter called ansar al-shariah in the city of darna, which is a center of violent islamic extremists to the east of benghazi. personally, because he plays a plot fatherly role to the extremists in eastern libya, i would be surprised if he was not involved as an inspiration to the attack that killed ambassador stevens. >> what more do we know about who might have been the attacke? and whether or not any of them may have been in contact with the guards at the consulate? >> the briefing that the
senators got on thursday afternoon from secretary clinton and people in our intelligence committee and the pentagon was really in complete. some of my colleagues came out disappointed. the investigation is going on. debriefers were very -- of the briefers were hesitant to give us anything but the sketchiest information. we do not know exactly he was involved. the assumption is that there could be more than one terrorists involved. >> what does all this a to the
american people about where terrorism is going? what is the take away for the american people? the take awa>> the take away fos that the fight against violent extremists and goes on. they have not been vanquished. the war against terrorism is not over. we would be happy to end it. our enemies are continuing to want to attack americans and american targets. though we killed osama bin laden, which was a tremendous victory in the war against terrorism, al qaeda itself continues to be effective. the other day i asked the head of the national counter- terrorism center what are the top threats to the american homeland. first he said al qaeda on the
arabian peninsula. second was still core al qaeda, which is basically based in pakistan. the third happen to be iran. the fight goes on. i do not think anyone to be hesitant to acknowledge that success in killing osama bin laden. it is a larger challenge to america. it perplexes me that still this film, this video, it done by one man from all i can tell is allowed to set off this kind of conflict. >> is the administration at fault for that? >> i guess you'd have to say that the president's attempts to rebuild our relationship with the muslim world have not
succeeded yet. i do not fault them for trying. we have to get to a point where not only we but the leaders in muslim world, religious and "this is as.aay terrible video done by t w o americans. it is not represent the american people." it is simply not an excuse to go on a rampage against american targets and americans. in other words, you cannot say it was just this one man in california who made the video who created this crisis. it was created by the radical egyptian cleric who gave a fiery speech about the film just
a few days before 9/11. and by everybody else who went out and demonstrated. we have to respect the world muslim community enough to say "friends, brothers and sisters in fate, this is unacceptable behavior." this and not get much attention. there was a remarkable statement put out by the leaders of the muslim christian and jewish communities in asia and palestinian -- in israel and palestine, it said we condemn violent demonstrations in response to those unflattering anti-portraits of those figures.
that is what is needed. not a kind of political yielding to the violent responses in the muslim world. >> we have about 10 minutes. >> there have been protests across africa and the middle east. you called for u.s. intervention into syria. he called for military attacks against iran. at the same time, there does not seem to be the appetite in this country for more intervention, especially military intervention, in middle east countries. what do you think the administration should be doing that would address your concerns? >> the short answer is the u.s. with allies, the arab world ought to be much more actively supporting the opposition to bashar al-assad for humanitarian
reasons and for reasons of our values. we believe in freedom for people, not the tyranny of bashar al-assad. i think that would be popular thing to do. in the arab world, as they watch what is happening in syria, if they wonder why the rest of the world why we are standing by. theirs is horrible crisis going through the muslim world. -- there is a horrible crisis going on through the muslim world. the government in libya has been very clear against the attacks, apologizing to the u.s. for the libyans who participated in the killing of the americans. why? and they know we were on their side in the uprising against gaddafi. the people rising up against al- assad do not know that. the moderate islamist government
was elected in tunisia and has been outspoken in support of the u.s.. that is one way to break through this perplexing anti-american feeling in the muslim world. >> of light to turn to a major national security threat -- i'd like to turn to a major national security threat that could overtake terrorism. that is the cyber threat. lately there have been increased reports of cyber activity coming out of iran aimed at critical secretaries in the united states. how concerned are you about that increased activity? what can you tell us about it in are after andt they
how serious it is/ >> first as you know, we are under constant cyber attacks, including the large part of our infrastructure that her privately owned. telecommunications, electric power grid, finance, all the rest. that is why we work so hard for the cyber security legislation. the recent cyber attacks on some major american financial institutions including the bank of america, jpmorgan chase, are a powerful example of our vulnerability. on an islamist extremist website a few days ago, these attacks were announced. they were explains that it was their intention to attack the banks and in york stock exchange -- and new york stock
exchange in response to the anti-muslim video. i do not believe these were just hackers who were skilled enough to cause the destruction of the website of cyberspace of bank of america and jpmorgan chase. i think this was done by iran which has its own developing cyber attack capacity. i believe it was a response to the increasingly strong economic sanctions that the united states and our european allies have put on iranian financial institutions. it is a counter attack by iran and against american financial institutions. this is a theory. i think it has a basis.
in response to our economic sanctions against the iranian financial institutions. in any case, it is not a very sophisticated attack. it was a denial of service. the overload a web site. the russians did this a few years back to estonia. it had an effect to the site for a while. >> have you talked to the administration to back that theory up? >> i talked to individuals about this. it gives me some encouragement in my own belief that these attacks on jpmorgan chase and bank of america website or not is done by hackers, but the iranian regime was behind this. it is more of a theory come in response to the u.s. sanctions against iranian financial institutions. it reminds us of our
vulnerability. that is why they're doing it. it is a warning that if we take action against their nuclear development programs, and that they have the capacity to strike back. we can not be fearful. once the u.s. begins to get fearful of counteracts, if we take action to protect our security than we are on the road to a much less safe america. >> are these individuals being talked about in the government? >> they are not as passers-by on the street. to put it forward as the intelligence community. there is more than just theory. there's some basis for believing that this was an iranian
sponsored attack. >> you've tried to do legislation on cyber security to protect u.s. critical infrastructure. it failed to advance. now the white house is considering during an executive order. what is your understanding about what the white house is going to do through that executive order? >> we are not giving up on adopting cyber security legislation in this session of congress. we're not going to do before the election, but we're still working with people who are opposed to our bill in the senate and the house to try to come up with a compromise for the lame duck session. i say the odds of being successful are no more than. i'm very encouraged because of the cyber threat. i do not know yet what is going to be involved. i heard they're going to adopt
large parts of the bill that senator collins and i put forward, which is to have the illustration develop standards for cyber defense -- have the administration develops standards for cyber defense. i have urged them and they're considering whether individual regulatory agencies that oversee electric grids could take those voluntary standards under their existing authority and make them mandatory. i hope they explore that. i am not sure we will be able to get this done legislatively. >> before we go, you are retiring. what will you do next? what do you what your legacy to be? >> i'm not sure what i am going to do next. i like to spend a little time in the private sector.
public policy is too much in my blood. i will look for ways to be involved in a constructive way in matters of public policy. my legacy i should lead to others. i have been very interested in and our mental protection over the years. i feel good about what i did -- in environmental protection over the years. i feel good about what i did. expanding rights for gay and lesbian americans. at a particularly good about the repeal of "don't ask don't tell." it is the matters of homeland's security that i have done the most, particularly after 9/11 and being involved with the creation of homeland security, the reorganization of the intelligence committee to meet the new threat of terrorism to our homeland, which probably are the most that the gantry forms in our national security -- are the most significant reforms in
our national security since the cold war began. it has been a thrill and a privilege. i am grateful for it. i am looking forward to the next chapter. >> are you going to vote for president obama for reelection/ ? >> i'm going to enjoy the privilege of every other american, going into the booth and voting privately. i am out of the crossfire. >> are you undecided? >> i m. it is a complicated decision. -- i am. it is a complicated decision. the debates are going to be very important. i am exercising the glorious liberty that an independent has, to not make up one's mind until one goes into the booth. >> senator joseph lieberman,
thank you. >> thank you both. >> we're back with our reporters. what did you hear? >> it is astounding that he said the recent cyber attacks from banks came from the iranian government. that is something that's has been a major concern among the u.s. government, that a foreign government would attack u.s. infrastructure. for senator lieberman to say in his estimation that it did come from the iranian government is a major turn of events. it raises a lot of questions in terms of what kind of percussion's there would be. he wrote cyber legislation. would executive order or the legislation addresses kind of attack?
what is the u.s. response? >> this attack elevate the visibility of the issue and maybe the need for businesses to fuel their argument that we need to do something to prevent such attacks. he did make clear that this is not an attack that would knock out power. it is more of denial of service where you overwhelm a website with network traffic. that is still something that can be tremendously disruptive. >> is that the difference between an act of war and not an act of war? >> in simple terms, yes. something that has a physical effect that kills people or that destroys or damages equipment that needs to be replaced is
something that is more akin to what he might seek in the physical world, when you drop a bomb on a plant. that would be an act of war. a denial of service attack can still be very disruptive and can cause pain to banks and financial institutions. it could be a big public- relations nightmare. saying iran behind this, that raises the stakes. >> what happens next? >> the u.s. government has been struggling with the bank of cyber attacks and how to respond. -- with the cyber attacks and how to respond. there is not an understanding of what constitutes an act of war in the cyber rig and what the response should be.
the government has defined this. that raises the question of how the u.s. government should respond and what kind of tensions iran in the united states are having. certainly it is a question of are we seeing go back from recent cyber attacks on iran -- are we seeing retaliation for recent cyber attacks on iran? are we seeing the repercussions from that with the iranian government responding and what kind of questions does that create? >> this is one person saying this. it is senator joseph lieberman.
>> it is significant. of the home and thhe is chairmn security committee. one of his legacy as is common security and terrorism. -- legacies is security and terrorism. >> there is an an independent review from the state department. >> he did say he and senator collins asked the general to do independent review. he said they would probably want to wait to not overtake the ongoing investigation by the state department. he would like to see it happen now. >> do you think that congress will do their own investigation? what happens next? what happens next? >> i do not